Photo by Scott Rodgerson

Yes, police DO have the right to ask for that breath sample

What you need to know about mandatory roadside alcohol tests Here’s some advice from a friend who doesn’t want to see you get in trouble: If a police officer stops your vehicle and demands a breath sample to determine whether you have consumed alcohol before driving.

Public Submission

By Tyler McMurchy, SGI

March 1, 2024

take the test

Yes, under federal legislation, police DO have the right to demand a quick roadside breath test of any driver they legally stop, using an approved screening device. Reasonable suspicion is not required for the roadside test.

The federal law - Criminal Code Section 320.27(2) - that gives police this right actually took effect in 2018, but police say many drivers they encounter still aren't aware they're required to comply with a demand for the breath test. That's a problem, because drivers potentially face serious penalties if they refuse to take the test. "It is estimated that over 1,500 people are killed by impaired drivers in Canada each year," said Sgt. Shannon Gordon of the Regina Police Service's Traffic Unit. "We would like to reminddrivers that mandatory roadside alcohol screening is not targeted, but an effort to decrease these numbers and provide a safer driving experience for everyone on the road." A driver who refuses to take the test can be charged with a Criminal Code offence, which carries penalties that are the same or greater than those for impaired driving convictions:

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